Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Waldo/Grievous Dog Controversy

If you pay any attention to Virginia Political Blogs, a fascinating blog aggregator operated by Waldo Jacquith, you know about a debate that’s been raging through the blogosphere over the last few days. It began with Virgil Goode’s bigoted comments about Islam, immigration, and Representative-elect Ellison, the first Moslem Congressman. Rational commentators have slammed Goode’s deplorable position, but the reactionaries have “circled the wagons” (to use one of their favorite clich├ęs) in support of good ol’ boy Goode, mostly by making their own bigoted associations of Islam with terrorism. The worst offender in this bizarre sophistry was a blogger who goes by the handle General Grievous Dog. (He puts an apostrophe in there where it doesn’t belong, but I refuse to compound his usage error.) GGD posted on his blog photographs of an American being beheaded by Iraqis, photographs that came from the killers originally but which most media outlets have chosen not to run. The images are extremely graphic. Waldo Jaquith, who normally doesn’t interfere with what appears on VPB, decided the images were inappropriate but, since the aggregator software doesn’t allow him to delete individual posts, he deleted GGD’s blog from the aggregator. GGD and his pals (notably the reactionary radicals SWAC Girl and John Maxfield, but there are others also) have been jumping up and down, screaming about censorship, attacking poor Waldo personally, and in general behaving like the cry-babies they are. It’s all nonsense of course, but it does make for amusing political theater.

My view is that Waldo can do whatever the hell he wants and everyone should just shut up. It is clear that GGD intended to fan the flames of hate (note to reactionaries: that, like calling the images “pornography” is a METAPHOR, a kind of figure of speech not to be taken literally). He was saying “Islam equal terrorism” which is either an intentional lie meant to instill hatred, or it is bigoted stupidity; either way it’s a position that needs to be challenged because it will lead us all down a very dangerous path.

I have no sympathy for terrorists, and believe that our pursuit of Osama bin Laden is correct (although sadly neglected, thanks to the ill-conceived George Bush sideshow in Iraq). But are the “insurgents” in Iraq really terrorists? Is their motivation so hard to understand? I despise their tactics—the victim in the photo GGD posted wasn’t even military—but on some level aren’t they using extreme tactics to dispel the occupying army? Is that really terrorism? It is instead, without doubt, the action of a desperate force that we have created by our own actions. It might as well have been George Bush wielding the sword that decapitated that victim, because it would not have happened if he had not taken us on this foolish, arrogant mission.

Finally, I don’t believe that “censorship” is really what is behind the Reactionaries’ moaning and groaning. Rather, they are furious that the rest of the world does not share their Christian hatred for Islam. So nothing we do, short of joining their New Crusade, will make them happy.

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